Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ancestry.ca announces release of 1916 Prairie provinces census

In a world first, Ancestry.ca , Canada’s leading family history web site, today launched online the 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, which contains 1.7 million names and more than 38,000 images of original Census pages in an indexed and fully searchable format. From 1906 to 1956, a separate Census was taken for the Prairie provinces five years after every national Census, providing a more complete picture of Canada’s west at this time. By law, the collection was kept private for 92 years and this is the first time ever that Canadians can view these important records online.

Family and social history enthusiasts can search the collection by first and last name, residence, place and year of birth, by father, mother and spouse’s name. This Census was also the first ever in Canada to ask about military service, providing much more detailed information about one’s ancestors. In addition to recording basic population and demographic statistics, the Census recorded primary migrant communities, which originated from England, Ireland, Scotland, the U.S. and Russia. In fact, 1916 was the year that the famous Doukhobors - a group of Christian Russian immigrants that would come to play a great role in building the Prairies - first arrived in Alberta.

Karen Peterson, Marketing Director, Ancestry.ca, comments: “The 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta is a fascinating and valuable snapshot of the Canadian Prairies and the people living there during a time of tremendous significance in the shaping of our country. Not only are Census records one of the most vital resources for family history researchers but they help paint a picture of the times in which these people lived and the many challenges they overcame.”

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